DA's Office Will Spend $1.9 Million to Outfit More Local Cops With Body Cams

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HPD
It looks like there's finally an official plan in place for the purchase of some more body cameras for hundreds of local law enforcement officers.

Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson announced this afternoon that her office plans to dole out $1 million to the Houston Police Department and $900,000 to the Harris County Sheriff's Office for the purchase of hundreds of body cameras, which will be worn by officers while they're on duty. The money will come from assets the office has seized during criminal investigations, Anderson said.

The DA's office said that overwhelming frustration voiced at a recent town hall, along with the overwhelming community support for body cameras, led to the decision to chip in some funding for more local body cams.

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State Lawmakers are Filing Against HERO and other Non-Discrimination Ordinances

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Photo by Aaron Reiss
Opponents of Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance now have some state legislation to watch.

The City of Houston hasn't had much luck with Mayor Annise Parker's attempt to enact Houston's Equal Rights Ordinance, (aka HERO) an ordinance to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents against discrimination, but now it looks like the Texas legislature is getting involved and all of the ordinances could be in jeopardy.

While things have been relatively quiet regarding Houston's law in recent weeks, opponents to such laws in the state had something new to chew on this week after Plano officials signed off on a similar anti-discrimination law in the ritzy suburban enclave that sits on the edge of Dallas.

Some of the same pastors that so ardently opposed Houston's law were immediately on hand to protest Plano's anti-discrimination measures aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents from, you know, discrimination. Then, because this is Texas, land of tolerance and hands-off government, -- as long as it has nothing to do with equal rights or abortion -- the whole argument got kicked up a notch when state lawmakers decided to get involved.


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Spring-Area Teenager Shows How Not to 'Cop-Watch'

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Thanks to the most brilliant plot known to man, a Spring-area teenager is behind bars after allegedly calling 911 with fake emergencies and then screwing with the cops when they showed up.

Eighteen-year-old Tony Ybarra was arrested December 6, accused of calling in two separate fake reports of suspicious drug activity near Cypresswood and Holzwarth in north Houston in order to gain some YouTube fame.


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HFD Captain Threatens to Make Hispanic Male Teens "Deceased" on Facebook

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Capt. Larry Batiste Twitter

Apparently Hispanic male teenagers should watch out around a Houston Fire Department captain, who threatened to "make them deceased," saying during a Facebook rant that "Hands Up, Don't Shoot shit" doesn't work with him.

The department is investigating HFD Captain Larry Batiste after he posted the threat on his Facebook page after finding his truck broken into early one morning, according to KHOU.

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Local Pit Bull Owner Drops Lawsuit Against Victims of Dog Attack

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Screenshot, First Coast News

After nearly a month of public scrutiny over her million dollar lawsuit, the Texas City woman who was suing her neighbors for injuries she says she sustained after her four pit bulls broke through a shared fence and killed her neighbor's beagle has dropped her lawsuit.

Emerald White, a Texas City woman with four pit bulls, filed the lawsuit against her neighbor, Steve Baker, in mid-November, stating that she was "seriously injured" while trying to retrieve her four pit bulls, which had broken through a shared fence and were attacking Baker's dog on his property.

White said she suffered "multiple serious bite and scratch-type injuries," during the incident due to Baker "failing to properly train the animal in question to prevent the vicious behavior of the animal," and "failing to securely confine and restrict" Bailey, a 10-year-old Beagle. Bailey was killed in the attack.

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The New MLK Statue at MacGregor Park Was Vandalized This Weekend

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Screenshot from the Black Heritage Society dedication video

In today's random vandalism news, vandals were caught striking a massive bronze statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in a local park over the weekend, but no one's sure exactly why.

A city park ranger was completing a routine check of MacGregor Park in Third Ward about 11 p.m. Friday night, when he came across two men striking a bronze community monument of Dr. King.

According to the park ranger, the men were repeatedly striking the 8-foot-tall, $120,000 statue with a metal object, damaging the back side of the recently-erected statue.


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If You're Buying a Cheap TV on Black Friday, Here Are Some Reasons to Watch Yo' Ass

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So there's a good chance some of you are planning to venture out on Black Friday, intent on throwing yourself into the hordes of people fighting over an iPod knockoff. Well, we kinda think you're nuts.

But the good thing is, you're not alone in your nuttery. Plenty of Houstonians will be out there along with you, all clawing their way to the electronics bins at Walmart in a fight to the death for whatever that super-cheap thing is everyone's after.

But there are plenty of reasons you should watch yo'self during Black Friday shopping. No one needs to be robbed at gunpoint in a mall parking lot. So here are just a few reasons to be cautious as you head out tomorrow (or tonight, or whenever the hell stores are opening for Black Friday these days):

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Lawyer of Accused Tutu Flasher Says His Client Was Wearing Underwear While Exposing Himself

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Harris County Constable file photo
There's nothing like getting caught with your pants...er...tutu down.

While it may be embarrassing, the attorney of a man accused of flashing a local salon says baring your balls from underneath a tutu is hardly indecent exposure. After all, his client, who has been accused of doing just that, had on some sort of "shielding" undergarment, too.

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Reminder: Houston Grand Juries (Almost) Never Indict Cops for Shooting Civilians

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Michael Barajas
Protesters marched down MLK Blvd Tuesday night
Hundreds of Houstonians joined protestors across the country Tuesday night, voicing anger after a Missouri grand jury chose not to indict Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer who shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown this summer.

Signs and placards carried familiar names that have sparked national headlines, like Trayvon Martin or John Crawford, the young black man shot and killed by cops in an Ohio Walmart just days before the Brown shooting for walking around with a toy gun he picked up in the store. But other names scrawled on protest signs hit closer to home. Like Eli Escobar Jr., an unarmed 14-year-old boy shot and killed by a rookie Houston cop in 2003, or Brian Claunch, a 45-year-old wheelchair-bound double-amputee who suffered from mental illness who was shot in the head by police in 2012 after wielding a ballpoint pen in a scuffle with two HPD officers.

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Charity that Builds Custom Homes for Wounded Veterans Once Again Facing Fraud Allegations

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Helping A Hero Gala Invite 2014

When Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott Lathan returned home from his second tour in Iraq, finances were tight. Lathan had been severely injured in Balad, Iraq in 2006 when 155mm rounds blew apart the Humvee he was riding in, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury, cognitive disorders, PTSD, and knee, back, and hip problems. The young soldier, who had a wife and young child, could no longer work.

The family struggled without Lathan's income, and money became an even bigger problem when Lathan's wife Sarah, who became breadwinner after his injuries, had to resign from her job to have heart surgery. Saddled with car and mortgage payments, the Lathans worried constantly about how to make ends meet.

But everything changed in September 2012, when Helping a Hero, a local nonprofit group that builds custom homes for veterans that have suffered severe injuries in war, contacted Sgt. Lathan. The charity's director, Meredith Iler, offered to build the Lathans a 2,400 square foot home with four bedrooms in exchange for a small mortgage, $50,000 over 10 years at 3.5 percent. It was a home they could better afford, and it seemed like the answer to their problems.

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